Saturday was filled with hiking through God’s creation. We visited Cucumber Falls, Ohiopyle Falls, and the Youghiogheny Dam. After a long day of fasting and experiencing the wonder of God through His creation (and needing some aspirin for the old guys), we gathered around the fire at the cabin to pray.
As I was stoking the fire to get it going, I began to think about the hot coals and embers that keep the fire hot. If you were to take one of the hot embers from the middle of the fire and put it off to the side, it would not be long before it cooled down. The orange glow would fade and the ember would eventually be nothing more than a cold black piece of charred wood.
This is not unlike a person in the Church, in The Body of Christ. When you are engaged and involved and growing in community with other believers, you tend to stay hotter in your faith. The joys in your life encourage others and keep their faith hot. When you share your struggles with fellow Christians, you have the support of the Body of Christ to keep you from growing cold. If you remove yourself from the Church, who is there to share in your joys and struggles?
One of the most frustrating things to me is when someone explains to me that they do not go to church because they don’t like organized religion or they got tired of the hypocrites. I understand why some people tend to be more anti-establishment than others. I know what it feels like to be burned by a hypocrite that you thought was on your side. Can I pose some questions to you though? How strong is your faith? Are you filled with The Spirit of God? Is the love of your Savior so overwhelming that you can’t help but share your faith with others?
I suppose that many people who attend church would answer those questions the same way that an unchurched “Christian” would. Church attenders are not really involved in the church though, are they? When you stop being the Church as soon as you walk out of the church doors on Sunday, can you really say you are a part of the Body of Christ? A hand cannot survive apart from the body. Can you survive spiritually apart from The Church?
As we were about to start praying, I looked into the fire and noticed something bright. I could not take my eyes off of this bright ember, deep within the fire. It appeared as though it was as bright as the sun, yet it was not blinding. If I were to have pulled that ember from the fire, it may have continued to glow for some time, but eventually it would have cooled down.
I want to be like that ember deep in the fire, burning so bright that people cannot take their eyes off of the light. I don’t want them looking at me, but at the light that comes from within. I want the light of Christ in me to be like a city on a hill that cannot be hidden.
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:28-29 (ESV)
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV)
This is the second post in a series of posts as I decompress from an amazing weekend of seeking God. You can find an introduction to this series as well as links to the other posts here.